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Where in the world is NCMEC? This week, Brussels and Dubai


World leaders and other VIPs are frequent visitors to the White House and on Capitol Hill when they come to Washington, D.C. Increasingly, they’re adding another destination to their itineraries: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

In the 40 years since it was founded, NCMEC has grown into the largest and most influential child protection organization in the nation. As it enters its fifth decade, the nonprofit organization, headquartered in the Washington suburbs, has become a draw for countries from around the world. In just the last year, NCMEC hosted dignitaries and delegations from more than 50 countries.

picture one: michelle in a black suit next to faeser in pink and black suit; picture two: michelle leading tour through NCMEC HQ to group of six people

Michelle DeLaune (left), President and CEO of NCMEC, welcomes Nancy Faeser, German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community, and members of her delegation.

first picture: two men in suits next to "Hope is why we're here" wall; second picture: three men in suits smiling

Derrick Driscoll (left), Chief Operating Officer of NCMEC, gives a tour to Andrew Etherington of the National Crime Agency and international liaison to NCMEC (center) and Tom Tugendhat, UK Minister of State (Minister for Security). Photos by NCMEC’s Claire Edkins and Sarah Baker.

Child sexual exploitation on the internet – which has no borders – has placed NCMEC firmly on the global map. The vast majority of reports to our CyberTipline, the designated place in the U.S. to report these crimes, have a nexus in other countries. Last year, we received a staggering 36 million reports, which we made available to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and more than 160 countries and territories for possible prosecution.

“As pioneers in the global battle against online child sexual exploitation, NCMEC's paramount focus lies in collaboration and information sharing,” said John Shehan, Senior Vice President of the Exploited Children Division and International Engagement. “Our steadfast commitment is anchored in the overarching goal of supporting survivors and elevating law enforcement capacities worldwide."

Shehan is meeting this week in Brussels with Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and then will be the keynote speaker at the World Police Summit in Dubai. During his trips, he’ll discuss recent trends in online child sexual exploitation, including the use of generative AI in the production of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and the financial sextortion of children.

With the explosion in CSAM and other types of online sexual exploitation, many countries are eager to learn about our CyberTipline, emerging online crimes against children and best practices for keeping children safer. Our "Take it Down" program, which explains how to get help removing explicit images from the internet, has been translated into 26 languages with more being added. Last year alone, NCMEC employees conducted trainings in 26 countries, including Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Belgium, Argentina, Sweden, India and Vietnam.

1 - John Shehan meets in Brussels with Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs. 2 - A group of investigators and prosecutors in Abuja, Nigeria attend a NCMEC training class.

1 - John Shehan meets in Brussels with Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs. 2 - A group of investigators and prosecutors in Abuja, Nigeria attend a NCMEC training class.

Kathryn Rifenbark, who works in our Exploited Children Division, met with a group of investigators and prosecutors in Nigeria and told them about an alarming spike in cases of financial sextortion being reported to NCMEC. Using a case sent to our CyberTipline, she showed them how easily, and quickly, a predator financially sextorted a teenager in the United States from a computer in Nigeria, which has been linked to numerous cases. The teenager was so traumatized he took his own life.

A delegation from Serbia traveled to our headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia to learn how AMBER Alerts can be used to galvanize the public in geo-targeted areas to help search for an abducted child. Alan Nanavaty, Executive Director of our Missing Children Division, traveled to Serbia when they launched their own AMBER program and used the opportunity to tell them about other NCMEC resources, including our CyberTipline. 

man in blue jacket being escorted by two police officers in black into a building

Serbia’s Cybercrime Team makes arrests after receiving CyberTipline training from NCMEC.

Immediately, Serbia’s Cybercrime Team requested a virtual training session with NCMEC and soon after announced the arrest of eight people on charges of possessing online child sexual abuse images that came from a CyberTipline report. Serbian officials praised NCMEC in a newspaper article as a “global leader” in helping to prevent abductions and find missing children, as well as in the fight against sexual exploitation on the internet.

Said Shehan: “We strive to shape a world where every child is not merely shielded but empowered, ensuring their absolute safeguarding from the pervasive threat of sexual exploitation.”